Mariners Series Preview: Road Trippin’ to Minnesota

After the first six games at home, the Seattle Mariners will make their way out to play the Minnesota Twins in their first road trip of the season.

It’s going to be nice for some fans, as they are going to get to see Nelson Cruz once again. Many of us thought that he was going to take a step back once he got to Minnesota, as he was getting a bit long in the tooth. Instead, he has been putting up some insane numbers lately and has actually hit 57 home runs in his last 162 games played.

Even though we are just a week into the season, the team already looks a bit different because of the rash of injuries that we have run into. The outfield isn’t what you would expect to see, and neither is the pitching staff.

Let’s take a look at what to expect for the Mariners series against the Twins in Minnesota.

Starting Rotation

Marco Gonzalez vs. Jose Berrios – April 8th, 1:10 PM Pacific

Yusei Kikuchi vs. Michael Pineda – April 10th, 11:10 AM Pacific

Chris Flexen vs. Matt Shoemaker – April 11th, 11:10 AM Pacific

The first two games each have something interesting about them. Jose Berrios threw a seven-inning no-hitter his last time out, and it will be interesting to see how he does against a Mariners team that strikes out more than the average team. In the second game, we get to see ex-Mariner Pineda, who has finally (hopefully) recovered from Tommy John. In the finale, we see two underrated pitchers try for their second straight strong start.

Mariners Hitters

  • C – Tom Murphy
  • 1B – Jose Marmalejos
  • 2B – Dylan Moore
  • 3B – Kyle Seager
  • SS – J.P. Crawford
  • LF – Sam Haggerty
  • CF – Taylor Trammell
  • RF – Mitch Haniger
  • DH – Ty France

Kyle Lewis is out for the series, as is Jake Fraley. The unknown is Evan White, who left the series finale against the White Sox with a strained quad. The Mariners bench is being tested early already, with Marmalejos, Bishop, and Haggerty seeing plenty of playing time. France, Haniger, Murphy, and Seager are the only regular hitters at .250 or above, with Marmalejos hitting one for three so far. It’ll be fun to watch Simmons vs. Crawford at short, as Crawford’s ceiling would be that of Simmons.

Twins Hitters

  • C – Mitch Garver
  • 1B – Miguel Sano
  • 2B – Jorge Polanco
  • 3B – Luis Arraez
  • SS – Andrelton Simmons
  • LF – Kyle Garlick
  • CF – Byron Buxton
  • RF – Max Kepler
  • DH – Nelson Cruz

Ah, Nelly. He is still out there crushing it, even at 40 years old. There haven’t been many through history that have hit that well late in their career, so it would be nice to see a slowdown, at least during this series. The Twins have a lot of pop paired with guys who find their way on base and will test the top of the Mariners rotation.

With the White Sox and the Twins back-to-back, it’s a great early test for the Mariners. You get the two top teams from the AL Central, and it makes for a tough stretch with two starting outfielders and the starting first baseman, not to mention our number two pitcher, all injured. The games are scheduled a bit funny, with the opener on Thursday the 8th, a day off on the 9th, and then finishing up over the weekend on the 10th and 11th.